“Bloom with Repose: Nothing Can Separate Us” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

August 5th,2021 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter


I hope you are having an amazing week. I hope you are leaning into rest and renewal. I hope that amidst all the anxiety and things that scare you, you know that this community loves you and is here to support you. I know that the public school system in NYC doesn’t start for a few more weeks but my heart is especially with those parents navigating the road of safe and equitable learning for their children. We are called to love our neighbors and care for the vulnerable, and I believe the best way for us to do that is to follow the CDC safety guidelines to vaccinate, mask, and distance. Prayers for each of you and for our global community. I also hope that you will join us for the Disciple’s Virtual Gathering. I am one of the hosts for the day and we have a great lineup of education, fellowship, and worship. While we obviously wish we could be together, we know that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Speaking of nothing separating us…that is the theme of Virtual Gathering AND our scripture this week, which comes from the letter to the Romans about what it means to be members of the body of Christ. We know that our God is still speaking to us, because this scripture was chosen almost 2 years ago, and it is as relevant now as it was when it was chosen. Let’s read together verses 38 and 39 of Romans chapter 8.

38 For I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, 39 neither heights nor depths—nor anything else in all creation—will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus, our Savior

Over the past two years I have done a lot of reflecting on what it means to be connected. Connected to our names. Connected to our God. Connected to each other. We have grown and lost people we have loved and yet we know that we are connected through love. Also, this past week in class, we had an assignment to draw a holy woman from our context, for me that is The Park, and talk about the ways she continues to be a source of connection. After some prayerful discernment, I thought of our beloved Ima Jean Kidd. A woman whose Spirit reminds us daily to connect and stay connected.

So, I drew her in the style of Dr. Angel Yarber’s Holy Women Icon’s project, drawing on things that remind me of her. Some things are more tangible like mail to represent the notes she used to send or her favorite flowers (sunflowers). And in her heart, I colored a rainbow and adapted a phrase that she once said when speaking up for the full inclusion of our queer siblings. Ima Jean was on my search committee and her final resting place is in our sanctuary. Ima Jean is gone but very much present. Her Spirit is a loving embrace and a gentle reminder that nothing can separate us. Not death, not technology, not generations or time. We are connected always, through the love of Christ Jesus found in each other.

So, friends, may this week be one of connection and love. May we call on our saints when necessary and the power of the Holy Spirit always. And may you always feel connected, knowing that nothing can separate you from the love of God or the love we have for you in this community.

Shalom Y’all,

Rev. Stephanie

Simple Prayer: Nothing can separate us, O Holy One. Amen.